As the New Year rolls around, the Golden Knight demonstration teams gear up for start of the 2014 air show season. The teams have arrived in Homestead, Florida to begin their two month annual certification cycle. Once completed, the teams will be ready to take on the show season. These Golden Knights are excited to get back on the road and perform.
The annual certification cycle starts off with an intensive week of demonstration accuracy stack jumps. This is the time for the old members of the team to work with the newest members on stack order discipline and accuracy training. Though the teams battled high wind conditions all week they got off many successful jumps. Our eight newest members, who just recently went through the Golden Knight Assessment and Selection, have quickly found their place on the team and have shown great promise.
The Gold and Black Demonstration teams kicked off the 2014 air show season with a jump into the Homestead Rodeo over the weekend. Gold Team had the privilege of jumping on Saturday. Their team leader, SFC Dustin Peregrin, jumped in with the Golden Knight baton to present to Mayor Jeff Porter. Black team backed up that performance by jumping in a stellar show the following day. Attached below is the a video from the homestead rodeo.
Homestead Mayor with members of the Gold Demonstration Team
SGT Gallagher jumps the POW Flag into the Rodeo
LTC Melendez observing the Gold Demonstrator’s packing
The skies are looking bright and the Knights are soaring high. As the new fiscal year kicks off, the Demonstration teams are raring to begin performing.
During the past few months, the Demonstration teams have been training together to build on their collective flight skills and target precision. Our training days run the gamut from narration to Canopy Relative Work and big ways to accuracy landings. Below pictures an 11-way over our home drop zone, Laurinburg, NC, taken by SFC Joe Ablen.
Recently the Demonstration teams had the privilege of jumping into one of our local schools on Ft. Bragg, Albritton Middle School, for their Spirit Week. The teams combined their efforts to perform for the enthusiastic students. Gold Team’s, SGT Blake Gaynor, jumped first to test out the high winds over the school and to narrate the show for the rest of the jumpers. The team then did a baton pass, followed by a mass formation lead by the Gold Team Leader, SFC Dustin Peregrin.
The baton was presented to Lora Tensley, who has served in our community’s school systems for the last 30 years. A few of Albritton’s eager students helped the jumpers pack up their parachutes to be jumped again soon, in the North Carolinian Blue Skies.
Gold Team is taking full advantage of our training days at home to perfect our performances for the opening of the show season. The team is gearing up and is very excited to get on the road and perform again. This past week was very busy with our annual cutaway training. The cutaway maneuver is one of the four separate demonstrations conducted during a full show. Though it sounds and looks very dramatic, there is absolutely no danger to the jumper. During the cutaway, the jumper is actually wearing three parachutes instead of the two normally worn. The jumper deploys the first parachute much higher than normal and intentionally causes it to malfunction; demonstrating the procedure that would normally take place should an actually emergency occur. It is very exciting to watch!
This past Wednesday, Golden Knights from several sections of the Team came together to conduct a jump with German ambassadors, in their C-160 (a smaller version of the American C-130). As the Germans took the Golden Knights up on their very last load of the day, it proved worth the wait. The twenty jumpers, included ten Golden Knights, German ambassadors, military tandems, and other US military free fall personnel from Ft. Bragg, jumped just prior to sunset. The view was amazing and the jump was conducted flawlessly. Thank you to our German friends for such a great experience!
The weather is looking good for training in the upcoming weeks and we are looking forward to seeing all of our proud military supporters again soon. Until then…Blue Skies!!